By Michael Cousins
This year, at Junior Gold, many new changes were implemented. Some of them, most of them, in fact, went over extremely well, as everyone I know that was there spoke very highly of the event. One person I spoke with went as far as to say that it was the best Junior Gold to date.
So, before I dive into my displeasure with one of the rules, I would like to first give credit where credit is due. Chad Murphy, if you are reading this – or if you are one of his naysayers reading this – congratulations. You and your staff did a tremendous job at Junior Gold this year. Bravo!
But onto the one gripe I had: surface adjustments.
When I was in youth, I felt that my biggest advantage over my competition was my knowledge of the game and my understanding of when and how to use surface to my advantage. I personally believe that understanding how and when to use surface is a skill. A skill that few understand how to fully utilize at that age.
Therefore, those few that do are at an advantage over those that don’t.
But this year, at Junior Gold, they took that advantage away by not allowing surface alterations once practice began. That, to me, is insane.
Sure, they allowed surface alterations during the practice squads. Which gave kids, to an extent, an idea of what surface adjustments they needed to make going into their squads. But, sometimes, things change.
I have bowled Junior Gold before. Many, in fact. And, fact of the matter is, patterns play different the more they’re laid out. If you bowled a practice squad at the beginning of the week at a center and didn’t bowl there again until the last day of qualifying, I can all but guarantee you that they are going to play differently. It is just the way it is.
So even though you have an “idea” of how they’ll play and what general surfaces you may or may not need, there is always the chance that they do not play the same once the lights turn on for your ten minutes of practice before your squad.
So if your preconceived notions were inaccurate, and the lanes now play differently, and you have already altered your surfaces in preparation for your squad, based entirely on your earlier practice sessions, well, you’re out of luck.
Personally, I think this rule should be revisited and altered. I do not think it is fair to the kids that know and understand how to use surface alterations to their advantage. Because that is exactly what it is, an advantage.
Why punish a kid for being intelligent? Why take away a competitive advantage from a kid that worked hard on and off the lanes to acquire it?
Many of the rule changes that have been made to Junior Gold over the years, I fully agree with. This one, I just don’t understand, honestly. Not sure what it accomplishes. I don’t know who it benefits. Or what it benefits.